Trump Offered Chance To Testify In Defamation Trial

In the defamation lawsuit filed by writer E. Jean Carroll against President Donald Trump, U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan has offered Trump a final opportunity to testify. Trump’s legal team has insisted that the former president will not attend the trial or provide testimony. However, Judge Kaplan is giving Trump until 5 p.m. Sunday to decide on testifying in his defense.

The lawsuit, brought by Carroll, alleges that Trump physically assaulted her in 1996 at a Manhattan department store. The former president has repeatedly denied the allegations, describing the case as a political “scam.” He has also criticized Judge Kaplan, a President Clinton appointee, calling him “extremely hostile.”

While playing golf in Ireland on Thursday, Trump told reporters he would “probably attend” the trial. Yet, his lawyer Joseph Tacopina stated that he had no plans to do so. If Trump chooses not to testify, closing arguments are set to take place on Monday.

During the trial, jurors were shown parts of a video deposition given by Trump last October. In it, he referred to Carroll as a “nut job” and “mentally sick.” He also maintained that Carroll was not his “type” and defended his controversial comments from a 2005 “Access Hollywood” recording as “locker room talk.”

Carroll’s legal team rested their case after playing the remaining deposition excerpts and calling three witnesses. Among them was a friend who claimed that Carroll told her about the alleged assault shortly after it allegedly happened and an expert hired by Carroll’s lawyers who estimated that Trump’s public denials caused millions of dollars in damage to Carroll’s reputation.

Northwestern University sociologist Ashlee Humphreys testified that a statement Trump made in October 2022 reiterating prior denials had caused between $368,000 and $2.76 million in harm to Carroll’s reputation. This estimate could play a role in determining monetary damages if the jury finds that Trump defamed Carroll.

Carroll, a 79-year-old former magazine advice columnist, claimed that she and Trump encountered each other at the store, engaged in lighthearted banter about trying on lingerie, and jokingly entered a fitting room where he suddenly became violent. She did not make the allegations public until 2019.

Trump, now 76, insists that he never met Carroll and that the entire encounter was fabricated. In the video deposition, he calmly stated, “I think she’s sick, mentally sick. She said that I did something to her that never took place. There was no anything. I know nothing about this nut job.”